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Tips for Practical Post-Pandemic Planning


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As enterprise communications leaders, we have huge issues on our plates right now. Among these concerns are service reliability, resiliency, communication, system security, and support for users who work across exceedingly diverse locations. No doubt, this takes up most of our time. Sadly, it will continue, since the end of this fourth phase of the pandemic is nowhere in sight.
Soon enough, we’ll be requested to restructure our operations based on the new way’s organizations will work post-pandemic. If we can be proactive, perhaps we’ll sit at the planning table as these methods are determined. Whether or not we are at the business planning table, enterprises will undoubtedly ask our assistance to adjust and to realign their communications services, topologies, and economics to support the post-pandemic re-definition of organization structures, business processes, and customer services.
There’s been plenty written about this topic, including my own prior posts on "7 Clues to the New Normal,” and “Scenarios for Post-COVID-19 Business Communications.” As these posts suggest, we’ve already learned a lot during COVID-19 that can be used as we plan for the future.
The Enterprise Connect workshop on August 21, “Practical Post-Pandemic Strategies for Success,” will provide a broad, comprehensive toolkit in support of your role in the planning for, the transition to, and success in the post-pandemic setting. The workshop will include three sections:
  1. Assessing the situation, the important variables, and the options.
  2. Selecting and creating your strategies to optimize the outcomes.
  3. Adapting checklists to guide success in the implementation phases.
Here’s a quick preview of each:
Assessing the situation, the variables, and the options
The key here is assessment. How is your enterprise going to adapt to certain changes in society, government regulations, customer expectations, employee expectations, cost and revenue structures, logistics, and much more in the post-pandemic period?
Also, what are the variables at your disposal? Are your existing contracts flexible? Do you have the in-place services or at least the licensing needed for new ways of working and communicating? What services can be decommissioned or scaled back; what services are likely to be expanded or acquired? How much funding is likely to be available, or will it be necessary to reduce costs dramatically, even while providing a new or revised set of services? What will be required to ensure the health and safety of employees in the future? What changes or additions to security will be indicated?
Understanding these fundamental points will enable the creation of possibilities. How much can be done with existing staff, skills, and systems? If you could pick only one or two transformative actions, what would those be? Which options can you choose and manage within your team and which will require cooperation or approvals from others in IT or from the enterprise’s leadership?
With this in place, strategies are creatable.
Selecting and creating your strategies
The means and methods to create your unique strategic options are the focus of this section. This part of the workshop provides the essentials for creating strategies based on the assessment section. Approaches must have definable outcomes, flexibility to deal with uncertainty as well as external variables, and must be feasible within the constraints.
We’ll also look at methods such as scenario planning, in which different future conditions are assessed based on the key variables that are most important and are most uncertain. Heck, planning for specific future states is easy; flexibility and adaptability are hard. But that need not be daunting, as will be illustrated in the workshop.
There are some powerful variables for creating strategic options and maximizing the chances of success. These include timing, risk-sharing, vendor-supported options, prototyping, pilot testing, outsourcing, user/department participation, and much more.
Checklists for successful implementation
Once one or more strategies are in place, the focus will shift to successful implementation. While the workshop won’t be able to dive into the details of every situation, we can look at the significant leverage points and provide editable checklists that can be used to guide the way for strategic success.
Some of the checklist items will focus on enterprise operations, lines of business, and functional departments. In almost all cases, strategic success for communications technology services depends on providing compelling operational benefits. Without obvious benefits, the strategy is doomed. But with a weighty rationale, the functional units will adopt and adapt with lightning speed.
Other checklist items will focus on the magic that we all know will go on behind the curtain. How can we use the licenses we already have? How can we support the users with their preferred devices while reducing communications technology costs – and taking credit for the benefits and savings? What magic can we create with the capabilities of Internet protocol ranging from the embedded capabilities of session border controllers to the power of communications platforms as a service (CPaaS)?
To learn more about future strategic planning post-pandemic, attend the Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo 2020, taking place online Aug. 3 to 6. On Monday, Aug. 3, industry analysts Zeus Kerravala, Jim Burton, and Melissa Swartz will be presenting the session, "Are Today’s Transformations the Model for the Long Term" from 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The session will conclude with a live chat Q&A; to participate, register now!
Then, on Aug. 21, join us a in a two-hour workshop, where Marty Parker will be presenting a premium seminar titled: “Practical Post-Pandemic Strategies for Success.” You won’t want to miss it! This pandemic will end, but there’s no returning to normal. Let’s be ready to seize the day! Hope to see you there – and Carpe Diem!

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This post is written on behalf of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.